2005 MITSUBISHI EVO VIII MR-FQ260 - 1 owner/60k

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2005 MITSUBISHI EVO VIII MR-FQ260 - 1 owner/60k

Background

Once, not so very long ago, swearing in public was deeply frowned upon. Society has changed a lot since the turn of the century. Now, the very worst words routinely pop up everywhere. Not just in film and TV, but even in the once sacrosanct medium of radio. 

To escape the torrent of filth, listeners of a delicate constitution find themselves obliged to take refuge in established bastions of decency such as The Archers –and you suspect that it’s only a matter of time before even that script is sounding like a bad day at a Tourette’s conference. 

In 2003, the F-word wasn’t quite as prevalent as it is now, which made the impact of Mitsubishi UK’s decision to call the first Evolution VIII the FQ-260 all the more shocking. Although nobody could quite believe it, the letters before the horsepower number were indeed intended to convey just how Blanking Quick it was. 

260bhp will give you a thrill even now but it was a crazy number in 2003, especially in what was basically a family saloon. The secret of the VIII FQ-260’s gigglesome performance was not just in the turbocharged 2.0 litre four engine’s power – which in five-speed form is usually attributed with 270bhp rather than 260 – but also in the four-wheel drive system. This drivetrain combination has been firing rally drivers off the line at unholy rates of acceleration since the original Lancer Evolution of 1992. The rally Evo’s way of going about its business would later summed up by Finnish ace Tommi Makinen as ‘maximum attack’. 

Evos had been trickling into the UK market for five years before our car was launched. The high water mark of these earlier Evos was arguably the epic and now hugely sought after Evo VI Tommi Makinen Edition which was rumoured to pack over 300bhp. The Evo VII of 2001 calmed things down a bit, being based on a new and slightly heavier platform. Although the addition of chassis electrickery kept the car front and centre in the performance saloon market, the subsequent Evo VIII of 2003 – the first of the FQ series – was a much more convincing car.

Anyone who has ever driven an Evo will testify to their extraordinary aura of bulletproof strength and reassurance. You get the impression that any liberties you take with the powertrain will be shrugged off with a casual ‘is that the best you’ve got?’ insouciance. The gearshift feels like it’s been carved out of solid billet, the engine is always eager to put serious power at your disposal, and the brilliant competition-honed AWD chassis has more than enough talent to transfer a big chunk of that power to the ground. 

But an Evo VIII is much more than just a ripsnorting performance car. With five genuine seats, a remarkably usable boot space and extremely docile low-rpm manners, it truly is a car for all occasions and for all seasons. If anything can be described as a good compromise, the Evo VIII in particular can. It may not have been the fastest Evo ever, but nor did it have the most bone-shattering ride. It’s still pretty firm, but the reward for that is great handling.

The Vehicle

Our car is a one-owner, original 5-speed UK-spec Evo VIII MR FQ-260, bought new in 2005 (the last year of Evo VIIIs) by a British dentist who now spends most of his time working abroad. He comes back to Britain once a year on average to take care of business and to drive his beloved Evo. The result is one of the lowest mileage Evo VIIIs you’ll find. 

A mere 14,000 miles were covered in the first five years of the car’s life. It must have been extremely difficult to resist the lure of taking such a beast out onto the roads for a thrash. The MOT history since 2008 backs up this glacial rate of mileage accumulation. It also gives a heartening insight into the rally-bred toughness of these Mitsubishis. We’ll talk more about that in the History Highlights. 

Today, the Evo stands at 59,500 miles and is ready to drop jaws at owner’s club meets and shows, not just because of its odometer reading but also because of its completely standard specification. Finding an unmodded Evo 8 is about as easy as bumping into a vicar in a Whitley Bay nightclub. You’ll find none of the usual maze of aftermarket pipework or strut braces under this car’s bonnet. It’s even managed to escape the usual Evo/Impreza fate of having a beancan rammed onto its exhaust. Here’s an Evo that you can leave well alone – which is probably the way to go for future value growth – or that can be tailored to your own requirements without the need to dispose of someone else’s efforts first. Find another one like it if you can.

On the Outside

Apart from a couple of tiny dents and minor bumper scuff, the gleaming black bodywork is in more than reasonable condition. The paintwork is slightly flat and would benefit from a deep shine or 'mop', but the panel gaps etc all look factory sharp. The owner has confirmed there was a repair to the nearside rear quarter panel a couple of years ago, after sustaining a dent, which is just detectable under very close inspection - mainly due to faint sanding lines under the paint. This does not detract from the overall external presentation of the car. The doors, bonnet and boot all close well and with even shutlines. 

Paint has flaked off much of the driver’s side windscreen wiper arm but the Brembo brake calipers and the 17in Enkei alloys are all in excellent shape. The Enkeis are shod with three premium Michelin Pilot Sport tyres and one Nexen replacement that still have plenty of meat on them.

On the Inside

The blue and grey colour scheme is nicely understated and ties in nicely with the typically ‘plasticky’ Mitsubishi cabin of the time. Generally speaking Evo cloth seats (Recaros at the front) are as tough as the rest of the car, but there is a tear in the driver’s seat side bolster which has exposed the foam. A bodge repair has been effected with what looks like good old gaffer tape, but a decent set of seat covers would be a better way to hide this imperfection (and potentially brighten up the interior) until such time as the next owner decides to source a replacement. Otherwise the seats show little signs of wear. The same goes for the door cards, carpets and correct Mitsubishi overmats. 

The centre console bearing the 0371 serial number plaque has seen better days, but even when new the Evo’s cabin ambience was workmanlike rather than luxurious. A few battle scars don’t seem too out of place in a car like this. 

All the instruments and the air-conditioning seem to work as they should.

Underneath

If you’re thinking of buying an Evo or any Japanese car of this vintage you need to be aware of the corrosion issues that can arise. 

Evo-specific areas include the sills, chassis legs, radiator support, cross member, suspension shock towers (and suspension components generally), boot floor, petrol filler neck/cap and the wheel arches.

The underside pics do show some areas of oxidisation affecting common culprits like exhaust hangers, brake pipes, as well as a little on the front strut towers and radiator support brackets, but there appears to be no rot, and nothing was considered worthy of a mention by the most recent MOT tester in April 2019. The main floors of both the passenger cabin and the boot do appear to be solid, no attempt having been made to hide any flaws under a thick coating of underseal or grease. 

The arches look clean. Missed by the valeter was the section under the filler cap but again this seems to be OK. Obviously any prospective buyer will need to satisfy themselves as to the condition of this car so we strongly encourage you to come along and make your own judgement.  

It’s unusual to lift an Evo bonnet and to be able to see an engine unadorned by performance add-ons, but that’s the welcome sight you’re greeted by here. The spacesaver wheel and tyre appear to be unused.

History Highlights

The first name to appear on the registration document was the owner’s company name. Ownership was later transferred to our dentist’s own name, so technically this is a two-owner car, but of course in reality it’s only had one ‘real’ owner. 

MOT records since 2008 paint a reassuring picture of a solid and reliable car. At its April MOT the car only failed on worn wiper rubbers, headlamp beam pattern and an illuminated engine management light (apparently caused by the idle sensor, but a good 50 mile tour appears to have rectified that issue rather effectively - this car just needs to be driven). All were rectified for the next-day pass with no advisories. The only two fails prior to that were for play on one track rod end ball joint in 2011 and for a thin brake pad and low headlamp beam in 2009. A handful of advisories over the last 11 years have centred around normal consumables like brake discs and pads and tyres. There has been no mention of corrosion on any of the MOT reports. 

The vehicle history includes the original 2005 bill of sale from the supplying dealer Crightons of Peterborough, showing the Evo’s new price of £23,279. The last service was carried out in 2013 at 47,000 miles (12,000 miles ago), so the next owner might be wise to book it in for another one, although the MOT garage also checked the car over and changed the oil and stated there was nothing he could see that needed attention.

What We Think

Mitsubishi Evos are as well known for staying in standard trim as hens are for having teeth. Discovering one in this unmolested state is a rare treat. 

It’s not perfect: the torn driver’s seat and the slightly pocky centre console are a shame in an otherwise durable cabin, and you may need to reassure yourself external cosmetics are to your taste. 

What about the performance? It’s true that the Evo FQ cars would eventually reach a mind-frazzling 440bhp in FQ440 form, but if your idea of simple fun is to make three or four of your mates scream like girls then the 270bhp FQ-260 is more than capable of delivering that. With a good start – which is almost guaranteed through this chassis – you’ll be hitting 60mph from rest in under 6 seconds. 

Evo VIIIs with higher mileages than this car routinely go on sale for £18,000 and above. The estimate on this car is £10-£15k. If it sticks at the lower end of that range you could well end up owning the cheapest 8 on the UK market. Some attention to the generic weak spots of these cars, such as their vulnerability to corrosion, would more than repay your investment. If we were the owners of this car we’d be hunting around for a new driver’s seat or better yet a full set of the black leather chairs that some Evos came with.

We always encourage viewings. This Mitsubishi is located here at The Market HQ in Abingdon. Just click the ‘Contact Seller’ button at the top of the listing to arrange an appointment. Ahead of that, or at any time during the process, you’re more than welcome to ask any questions or jot down observations in the comments section below. You won’t be shocked to hear that our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ section will answer general questions that are frequently asked about how The Market works. 

Also please note that we have a network of trusted suppliers with whom we work regularly and successfully: Classic & Sportscar Finance for purchase-financing, Thames Valley Car Storage for storing your car, AnyVan for transporting it, and Footman James for classic car insurance.

BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we never stop encouraging bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at the vehicles delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.

Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using simple cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.

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Seller

iain moffat

  • Location: Abingdon
  • Seller Type: Private
  • Odometer Reading: 59500
  • Chassis Number: JMASNCT9A4U000998
  • Engine: 1997
  • Gearbox: Manual
  • Colour: Black
  • Interior: Black and blue material

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